|Your oversight 2016|
What one deserves and what one recieves. These records each have up to 10 votes (with one notable exception), but they deserve a lot more. I have not necessarily enjoyed all of them, but I suppose you might.
Aye, you know what? I'll finish it later.
|1||Biblical Proof of UFOs|
Fireballs of Love
Let's start off with one of the main reasons I decided to make this list. BPoUFOs have been around since the 90s and have been criminally ignored by people ever since. On this four-track EP you'll find a bunch of mostly slower, somewhat melodic and instantly memorable Rock tracks. The band takes elements of Psychedelic and Stoner to create slightly soft and rhythmic experience that is definitely worth your while. Give 'em some credit finally, goddammit!
This guy's Bandcamp page says that he wanted to make music for 15 years, but couldn't due to his anxiety. And I can only say that I'm glad he won his battle and actually started making music. On this debut EP you'll be greeted by a series of sweet and intriguing Electropop tunes that will surely get stuck in your memory.
|3||Hanni El Khatib|
Savage Times Vol. 1
Hanni El Khatib released five three-track EPs this year (rather than releasing a full album). Each one seems to consist of slower and subtler parts and much more straight forward and brutish Blues-Rock parts. I personally found a deep enjoyment in these EPs (and the single Gun Clap Hero might be one of my favourites of the year), hopefully you will too.
This is the 'notable exception' I mentioned in the description. Though this album has more than 10 votes, it still has much less than I think it should have. Imagine if Nick Cave took over Joy Division after Ian Curtis' demise and started making Johnny Cash tributes...strongly influenced by Mark Lanegan.
|5||Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve|
The Soft Bounce
This record is sweetness galore. Its melodies are instantly memorable, its mood charming, its instrumentals plain yet captivating and its songwriting tender yet sharp. The reason I didn't 'love' this album might be the long and uneventful interludes at the beginning and back end of the album. But outside of that, it is outstandingly sweet and beautiful in every way.
Sacred Blood "Divine" Lies
On here we see Magnum keeping Power Metal over-the-top, fun and ridiculously catchy as always.
|7||The Burning Hell|
From its relaxing Silver Jews-esque music to its witty and clever lyricism, Burning Hell show us just how much you can do with the right influences and sense of humour.
Surprisingly enough, this isn't your typical washed out, gutless, flavourless and uninspired Indie Rock. And though it does carry certain quirks of the modern implication of the genre, it uses the clichés to the best effect it can and creates a fun and joyous experience.
Another Fall from Grace
Let's talk history for a second, kids. Back in the day, Post-Punk was not the only musical deviation for all the angsty, lonely and depressed yougsters. The alternative was Goth Rock. Sure, it shared a lot of similarities with Post-Punk, but Goth Rocks defining mark was its bleaker nature (certainly, Goths were much more stylish too). The Mission were never exactly the forefronters of the subculture, but they were navigating through it confidently. And now they made a new record that unfortunately feels a little middle-of-the-road. The songs are not as memorable and the don't feature a lot of variety in istrumentation, mood or vibe. But it is still a good throwback to the good ol' days of Goth.
Talking about throwbacks, let's dive further in time and discover revivalsim of the 70s in all of its heavy glory. Even though Svvamp didn't really come to their own on here, they still showed all their musical potential and a great deal of respect for the period they were so keen on replicating and reviving for modern audiences.
The Machine Stops
But let's get back to the direct reminiscence of the past in form of Hawkwind (and AMT one spot later). Surely, who could expect Hawkwnd or anyone so deep in their career to still be full on at it and put out fully original and completely amazing meterial. Regardless, Hawkwind are the classics of Space-Psych and even though this album might be quite a dud, it is still a worthwhile listen if you want a taste of the past under the guarding shields of modernism.
|12||Acid Mothers Temple|
Wake to a New Dawn of Another Astro Era
Pretty much just as big a past-time-revivalism as Hawkwind. Certainly Acid Mothers Temple didn't come through with any sort of revolutionary or envelope-pushing record, but it is still damn goo to see classic acts making new music so deep into their careers.
Rites And Ritual
While talking about The Mission I mentioned that Goth Rock was a much welcome alternative to another genre that was big back in the day. A favourite of mine, Post-Punk. It is sad that possibly my favourite purist Post-Punk album of the year (besides Preoccupations of course) fell out of people's radars completely. That may be because this is band's debut record and they do weat their influences on their sleeves a lot (well, certainly not as obviously as Soft Kill did). Despite that, they did the sound justice and created a fantastic and criminally ismissed record that is a must listen for any fan of the genre.
While still on topic of good, but overlooked Post-Punk I'd like to mention Fews. They may not be as successful at capturing the essence of the genre as Traitrs were, but they certainly brought a lot of interesting new stuff to the table with their slight Shoegaze influences. While Traitrs stayed true to the roots of the genre, Fews decided to move forward and experiment with genres to a magnetic effect.
While Yeesh are clearly more modern Post-Punk band than one keen on reviving the past, they do show slight nods to the classics of the genre.
An Oath to the Void
Talking about favourite genres, I have to mention Black Metal. I remember when I was a kid and I used to sneak into my older sister's room while she was gone and listen to her Black Metal casette collection. Its sound was something completely wild and mysterious to me. I didn't understand how could someone find enjoyment in all of these unintelligible noises and unsettling shrieks. A normal person would stop trying to understand and dismiss the whole thing as garbage. But I was a stubborn little shit and I kept listening until I understood. But time moves and the Lo-Fi distorted and disturbing sound that was defining Black Metal back then was replaced by gurgantuous and landscapic emotional outbursts. From a genre centered around suicidal and lonesome introversion, a statement of grandiosity emerged.
Astral Path is certainly a result of said change. They are the logical next step in the genre evolution. Leaving the distortion and chaos behind, heading towars the light and beauty.
And the opposite of the progressive and forwad-thinking newcomers Astral Path is Sacrilegium, a band that has seen the 'golden era' of Black Metal first hand and has existed through it. Prior to Anima Lucifera the band release only one album back in the 90s. I don't know if they were that popular that they saw it fit to try to live off of the name with this new record. On here, the band tries to balance the oldschool with the newschool. They try to bring the vibe and the atmosphere of the past to the modern cleanly produced and slightly more atmospheric sound. In my opinion they don't succeed completely, but the idea is there. You might be more interested in listening to this record than I was. And can anyone tell me if they were big or not?
Don't worry about this rapper/producer's well-being because nobody listens to his music, because he built his whole career and this album's concept around his own failure and inability to find success.
The Painted Bird
This isn't just one John Zorn album on here, this is whatever this guy released this year. He's as prolific as Buckethead or Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, but in a completely different direction. Though I personally have skipped each of Zorn's 2016 releases apart from the Painted Bird, I am certain they are all just as obscure and head-scratchingly twisted. On Painted Bird, John Zorn and his band display their incredible instrumental abilities and sense of insane and creepy.
In a lot of ways this album reminds me of that new Damien Jurado record, which was immensly enjoyable to me. Similarities are mostly in the instrumental and vocal side of each album. But while Damien Jurado gave us an album, whose vibe threw the listener straight into a hallucinogenic trip through a desert, Chris Staples provides much more sophisticated alternative. Think of it as a warm milk to drink and a blanket to cover yourself with while watching the snowstorm from the window of your cozy little cabin.
The Echocentrics mix Rock'n'Roll with elements of Country and get by with a little help from their extensive list of guests (well, not that extensive).
The Word Never Dropped
On their newest EP, the prolific russian Dark-Synthpop band Ocean Jet delivers their most consistent and ambitious material yet, but also deviating a bit form the whole 'Dark' schtick.
A Jazz/Soul/Funk maestro's posthumous release that is a nice sendoff and a glorious farewell to yet another great we've lost in the last couple of years.
Talking about Jazz, here's an experimental one. Moon Hooch was largely ignored by people, although it was featured on NPR's First Listen programme, which I imagine should be quite popular (I mean, listening for free to the newest releases before they're even released? Yes, please). On Red Sky you'll find a lot of obscure and mind-bending Alt-Jazz tunes. So if you want some oddball and yet instrumentally intriguing music, get all in on this one.
Post-Metal at its most accessible, yet somehow charming.
Oh boy, this thing! I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. It still seems to me that the artist (JigglyPDiddy on Sputnikmusic) just threw every single insane and off-the-wall project she knew into one pile of unsettling oddity for the pure sake of calling it 'Experimental' music. Kudos, you've managed to weird me out for sure. It is drony, weird and electronically dense. You might have better understanding for it.
|27||Aesop Rock & Blueprint|
Somehow, Aesop Rock's latest collaboration fell out of a lot of people's radars and sort of dissolved into oblivion as a side project after the Impossible Kid. It is still worth your while, but I do believe that the duo has much more to offer. Hopefully this wasn't a one-off 'let's-try-it-out-maybe-it'll-work' kind of project and we'll soon hear from these two again with something bigger and much more ambitious.
Although I personally wish this album had more melodic and catchy material on it, I can't deny that this Electropop/Trip-Hop album still has potential to wow you with its subtle charm and beauty that I had such a hard time finding, maybe it will be a bit more apparent to you.
|29||The Stargazer Lilies|
Door To The Sun
While we're at this note of subtle beauty, let's add a teaspoon of sunny and rainbowy tenderness, shall we?
Emo Rock had a lot of revisions lately and I completely support it, but a lot of the times I fell like the bands don't really bring anything new to the table or even know how to make an entertaining record at the very least. If you feel the same way, Wavepool are happy to brighten up your stance on the state of the genre today.
Still in the region of Emo, though this time much more Garage-Punk oriented (or vice versa, I'm not sure). The other two Sputniks (yes, I'm calling other users Sputniks due to the origin of the word) didn't seem to enjoy it as much as I did, but I believe that the band has a potential to grow bigger and brighter.
|32||Fear Like Us|
Guess what? More Emo. But this time much more Folk-Punk-inspired.
We're safely leaving Emo for the Garage Punk with this feature of Hoodlum Shouts.
I'll be frank with you, the only reason I'm putting this record on here is because I believe in the band's potential, which was in no way displayed on this record. But if you like yourselves some Stoner/Doom, you might very well enjoy this too.
|35||Songs For Walter|
Songs For Walter
An actually good and personal Indie Folk project created as a tribute to the artist's grandfather (hence the title). This album is a sweet and joyous celebration of life and a memoir of a stoic man. Judging by this album, Walter sure seems like one hell of a character worth singing about.
For whatever reason, all the feedback this album recieved on Sputnik was quite negative (I think I'm the only one who gave it anything higher than 3.0). I don't understand why. Get Gone is an entertaining, catchy, blissful and instrumentally beautiful female-lead Blues Rock album (I mean, listen to the song Chandelier, for goodness sake).
How did you miss the new Dungen album, people? This purely instrumental ride is almost a masterpiece. My only issue with the album was its length. The band sometimes drags some of these songs for a bit too long, even though the presented tunes are not necessarily that interesting to begin with. But for the most part, this album is a musical excellence with practically no lowpoint.
I am surprised at the lack of attention this record is recieving (1 vote on Sputnik? C'mon). This is a collaboration project between some Menomena, The National and Sufjan Stevens' band members. And the atmosphere and the sound they create on this record is wholly unique, yet giving nods to each artist's separate works. Our Puram is a fantastic display of sonic and melodic excellence, lyrical wit and instrumental creativity. A must-listen for all fans of each mentioned band (though I do believe that Menomena influence prevails on here).
|39||Get Well Soon|
Get Well Soon might be one of the most intriguing Indie bands out there right now (at least for me). Their brand of music seems to center around the idea of it being a soundtrack. And that really was the main theme the band was so keen on varieting from album to album. Their debut seems like a shining fantasy epic, their sophomore relsease seems a bit more subtle and less ambitious, the third installment in their discography is however a full on Vivian Girls musical (they even reference the work) or a musical accompaniment to any of Alexandro Jodorowsky films. And now we're here with their fourth album, which heads in a completely different direction. Retro! From the music and even from the music videos it's apparent that GWS are trying to recreate that vibe and atmosphere of old European cinema through music. And the result is marvellous at the very least.
An album hyped by The Needle Drop, who bailed on reviewing or even mentioning the record any further after its release. This album was supposed to be my Hard-Blackgaze with slight Pop-Punk and Emo influence) getaway for 2016. But alas, the slightly cheesy heaviness I was hoping for is brought up on approximately three or four tracks and the rest just barely hint towards it. For me personally it is a letdown, but I believe that anyone who likes their Pop-Punk heavier and more atmospheric will source an immense pleasure in this record.
Talking about albums that were supposed to be one thing and then delivered a complete opposite, Liima is also on the list. With singles like Roger Waters and Amerika I was hoping for a slightly off-the-wall and disharmonic Electropop record. On the two presented singles the band truly came through with an original and intriguing sound, but the album itself falls short of my expectations. I suppose I only recommend the two singles, but the rest of the album is still worthwhile listen if you like Electropop.
In this age of faceless teen-bubblegum-Popstars, where you don't really need any talent to get a hit song, it's goddamn nice to hear someone like Brodka, who hails from Poland, delivering a solid Pop performance with a musical theme and a lyrical personality.
Out of nowhere, French Psychedelic virtuosos Kaviar Special bursted into my life and made it a few shades brighter with this colourful and completely instrumentally wild album.
While we're in the are of wild Psychedelic albums, I have to mention the Murlocs. To a certain extent they sound similar to Kaviar Special, but while the first band pays homage to the good ol' days of Rock'n'Roll, the Murlocs try to go a bit more Pop and Lo-Fi.
Italian Indie Rock band Focus Indulgens created an album of unconventional beauty and charm that is instrumentally, sonically and atmospherically (lyrics are in italian, so I can't tell you much about them) near-flawless.
|46||SPG and the Vices|
Don't Lose Your Head
|47||Telstar Sound Drone|
Magical Solutions To Everyday Struggles
The Past Is Not A Flood
Things Our Bodies Used To Have
|54||The Moth & The Flame|
Young & Unafraid
Lullabies for the Broken Brain
An album of instrumentals by rapper/producer (in this instance only producer) Quelle Chris did not seem to impress a lot of people, but it did make me curious about his further works. The record is odd, disharmonic and off-the-wall, give it a listen.
Behind - Beyond
Lengsty and ominous, Spirit Adrift delivered a blast of a record. This is however just a teaser to much bigger album. In spite of that it is still a monolith of an album.
Moving form lengsty Stoner/Doom towards straight forward Rock'n'Roll. Barbed Wire created an instrumental madhouse. Oh this EP you'll find the best possible homage to the golden age of the genre.
|61||Stars That Move|
|63||High Priest Of Saturn|
Son of Earth and Sky
Jewels Of Crime
The Art To Disappear
I'll say what I already expressed in my January roundup: "This album is a musical equivalent of a slaughterhouse."
Vale Of Tears
Face Always Towards the Sun
|70||Eefje de Visser|
|73||Nick Dittmeier & The Sawdusters|
Midwest Heart/Southern Blues
Radio Free Vulgata
Rough around the edges and a bit off-putting Math Rock from Ukraine, despised (as it seems) by JohnnyOnTheSpot. But I found the record to be intriguing to say the least, though still not my cup of tea.
Villainy II: Dim
Reign of Terror
|77||The December Sound|
|78||Grand Mexican Warlock|
Mystical Future leftovers strike just as hard and sharply as the main album itself.
Combining Spaciness with tender vibes of R'n'B and the likes of it. On Lunar Love you'll find a myriad of different smooth and cosmic melodies and sounds that are sure to make you excited for more.
|81||Suns of Thyme|
Psychedelic Magic Journey Through Your Mind
|88||The So So Glos|
Venus on Edge
Metz recieved quite a buzz around their two full-lengths they released thus far, but almost none around this double-single it seems. With these two tracks they show their prominency and musical consistency.
Lightweight / Reflect
On this teaser-EP Erik Blood (I'm still not sure whether that is one person or rather an alias of a collective) delivers a taste of what his oddball and imaginative personality has to offer. This EP also hyped me for what's to come, promising that Erik Blood can deliver much more consistent and compelling material on a full-length record. That didn't happen. On his debut LP he saw fit to slow down on experimental and unconventional Synthpop and rather emphasise the calmer and somewhat tranquil side of his music. Regardless, the EP leading up to that release is still a promising Pop output full of potential and personality that was unfortunately underused on Erik's later work.
Honestly, I am not exactly the biggest Jazz fan. I admire the genre, but it's not particularily something I'd put on for my own pleasure. This album unfortunately fell into the pit of my own inability to appreciate the genre. I believe that it is a solid record, and the only other Sputnik who rated it gave it a full 5.0, so I think it probably is worth your while.
This is one of my favourite EPs this year. It might even climb up to the very top, actually. Its powerful and over-the-top emotional Metal delivery is possibly the most striking and instantly memorable I've heard this year. And if the song Signs of Time was a single, it could easily top my list of favourite singles of 2016 (which is coming soon).
Son Lux are a hella talented collective and they keep on proving that with a solid series of catchy and instrumentally brilliant tunes on this EP of (I assume) leftovers from their latest album.
It's true that white rappers tend to try to show off their ambitions as much as possible. They seem to rely on grand production and slightly over-the-top delivers (may Watsky, Macklemore and such serve as examples). However, a lot of the time tehy come off quite corny and bloated. Cecil Otter usess these tropes too, but to a fully new effect. His music doesn't exploit grand production purely for the sake of more emotional impact on the listener, he builds it around his personality, strong delivery and solid lyricism.